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A Funeral, a Wedding, and a Tooth Extraction…

April 13, 2014

The boy was only three. We had to walk up and down a trail to get to his small tin and concrete home. There were lines of people standing at the top of a hill, looking down. Their clothes were worn. Their skin was darkened by the sun. The lines in their faces were hard. I smiled… not knowing what else to do. I followed the people, we were with, down dirt steps, that were carved out of the side of the hill, to an even larger crowd in front of the house. They stood and sat under a tattered tarp held up with bamboo sticks. I sat at the bottom of the last step, trying to get out of sight of so many stares. Angel and Neely clung to my sides, Kendall sat on the step behind me and Riley on the one behind her. Liam stood beside John amongst the crowd. There wasn’t much room for movement, but from where I sat I could see the smallest of caskets. It was made from very thin plywood with a square cut out for his face. As they sang, people would come up and view the boy. One young man carried a girl, who looked to be about three or four, up to see him. The little girl had large blue and purple bruises under her eyes. Her face looked swollen and she had several cuts on her face and around her mouth. She could walk but she walked slowly and with a limp. I learned that she had been crossing the busy road with her little brother, when they were both hit by a large truck. I shed an endless amount of tears that day. They buried him behind the house and sang In the Sweet By and By. We went inside and prayed with the young mother and father as the little girl sat by my side with her hand on my arm. I gently pat her leg, afraid that I might hurt her tiny battered body. I wanted to carry her to a nice comfortable bed with fluffy pillows and all the ice cream imaginable, with any animated movie her heart desired. But she limped away, to stare out of a window, cut out of the tin and lined with old wood.
There is a saying here… If you want to find the wedding, just follow the smoke. In our case, we followed the sound of the gongs. We sat amongst strangers and stares, eating what we could from a plate of rice and pig parts, with our hands. Everyone rinsed their hands in the same bucket of water. I left the food on mine. I used to feel like a party crasher when going to events like these, but after awhile, you just realize that it’s the thing to do… show up uninvited and unknown…. No invitation required or given. Even truck drivers stop if they discover a wedding going on, just to get some food. If fact, it would be rude for us not to go if we are in the area.
My face is swollen, or the right side anyway… John and I hate going to the dentist but we both needed to, so we mutually motivated each other until we finally found ourselves in the office. We made the kids go first. 🙂 Riley, Kendall, and Neely were good but Angel and Liam had to get a baby tooth removed. Angel’s was only half of a baby tooth that never fully came out. John got a tooth or two drilled and filled. I am embarrassed to tell you the work I had done. 😉 But I will tell you that I had a molar at the back of my upper jaw removed. It is a strange feeling to have three children and a dentist hovering over you. Neely stroked my hair and told me it would all be okay because she was right there. The dentist told them not to worry that she wouldn’t hurt their mommy. Two other patients sat and watched me get my tooth yanked out. The root was pretty long. John words were, “You had that thing in your mouth?” And Riley… “I could never be a dentist.” We went to our fellowship the next morning which involved hiking, jumping, and singing with the children. And now I look like a chipmunk… Ibuprofen was not doing the trick. I was lying in the bed ready to knock myself out, and John asked if I wanted a vicodin… (What??? Thank you Lord! Where’d we get those??) Someone left them for us in case of need and that person is now at the top of my favorite people list. 😉 I took half. John looked up on the internet about tooth extractions and pain. He read to me a list of things to do and causes of pain. He said I needed to swish with salt water in case of dry socket. “I don’t have dry socket.” I argued. Then he proceeded to read, “If your wife is a stubborn red head…” I didn’t let him finish before I punched him in the arm. The pain subsided and I was able to drift, or sort of, float to sleep.
Sorry I don’t write much anymore and I don’t really get on facebook or email either. I am just in a phase in my life where I need a break from all of that. But please don’t forget about us. Pray for us as often as you think of us. And know that we love and miss you all terribly!

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